Nitrogen transfer from one plant to another depends on plant biomass production between conspecific and heterospecific species via a common arbuscular mycorrhizal network
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The formation of a common mycorrhizal network (CMN) between roots of different plant species enables nutrient transfers from one plant to another and their coexistence. However, almost all studies on nutrient transfers between CMN-connected plants have separately, but not simultaneously, been demonstrated under the same experimentation. Both conspecific and heterospecific seedlings of Cinnamomum camphora, Bidens pilosa, and Broussonetia papyrifera native to a karst habitat in southwest China were concurrently grown in a growth microcosm that had seven hollowed compartments (six around one in the center) being covered by 35.0-μm and/or 0.45-μm nylon mesh. The Ci. camphora in the central compartment was supplied with or without Glomus etunicatum and 15N to track N transfers between CMN-connected conspecific and heterospecific seedlings. The results showed as follows: significant greater nitrogen accumulations, biomass productions, 15N content, % Ntransfer, and the Ntransfer amount between receiver plant species ranked as Br. papyrifera≈Bi. pilosa > Ci. camphora under both M+ and M−, and as under M+ than under M− for Ci. camphora but not for both Bi. Pilosa and Br. papyrifera; the CMN transferred more nitrogen (15N content, % Ntransfer, and Ntransfer amount) from the donor Ci. camphora to the heterospecific Br. papyrifera and Bi. pilosa, with a lower percentage of nitrogen derived from transfer (%NDFT). These findings suggest that the CMN may potentially regulate the nitrogen transfer from a donor plant to individual heterospecific receiver plants, where the ratio of nitrogen derived from transfer depends on the biomass strength of the individual plants.
Keywords15N Bidens pilosa Broussonetia papyrifera Cinnamomum camphora Common mycorrhizal networks Glomus etunicatum Nitrogen transfer
We thank Prof. Gui-Jie Ding, Dr Li-Fei Yu, Dr Ji-Ming Liu, Dr De-Lu Wang, Dr Xiao-Li Wei, and Dr Zhi-Tai Wang (Forestry College of Guizhou University) for supporting this research. We thank professor Xin-hua He (College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University) for the suggestions and writing helps of this paper, and we thank Chun-Yu Wu and Pei-Yun Xie for helping with the experimental process.
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 31360106, 31660156, 31000204, 31560223), the Provincial Key Technologies R&D program of Guizhou Province of China (NY3029,  Zhi-cheng 2805), and the Special Program Foundation on Training the Young Talents for Science and Technology by Guizhou Province (Qian-ke-he-ren 10), and the Science and Technology Program by Guizhou Province (Qian-ke-he Platform Talents  5788).
Compliance with ethical standards
The work described has not been published before. The work is not under consideration for publication anywhere else, and its publication has been approved by all coauthors.
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